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DEPRESSION SIDELINED HOLDSCLAW

She wasn't sick enough to be bedridden. Nothing appeared to be outwardly wrong with Chamique Holdsclaw. But it was the middle of July, and the darkness seemed to eclipse her.

Over the course of the season with the Washington Mystics, Holdsclaw had become increasingly withdrawn, alienated from teammates and family and even her oldest confidantes. "What's wrong with you?" everyone asked. She was unable and unwilling to explain.

"It was like shooting to the back of the room," she said. "I was there but not there."

Holdsclaw said she was in the grip of an affliction that approximately 19 million Americans share but few are willing to talk about. Holdsclaw suffered from depression. So much so that she says it ruined her competitive heart and derailed her season, and has caused a five-time WNBA All-Star and one of the most gifted and recognizable players in women's basketball to consider quitting altogether.

Thursday, in her first interview since leaving the Mystics in midseason in July for "undisclosed medical reasons," Holdsclaw told the Washington Post she has been in the care of a psychiatrist. She said she has regained her enthusiasm to play and will seek a place with a team overseas this winter, in hopes of regaining her WNBA career. But she wouldn't rule out retirement.

"It's a possibility, I can honestly say," she said.

Mourning back on court

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Alonzo Mourning played in a game for the first time since a kidney transplant in December and scored 12 points in 19 minutes for the New Jersey Nets in a 96-94 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Mourning, 34, was supposed to play 8-to-10 minutes, but he remarkably almost doubled that.

"As far as my overall conditioning, it does need to be a little better," he said. "At the same time, I think my recovery is doing a lot better because I have a new organ that is doing its job. That makes a world of difference."

Yao injures elbow

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was held out of the team's final preseason game with the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night due to a hyperextended left elbow.

Yao injured the elbow against San Antonio on Wednesday night when he got tangled up under the basket with the Spurs' Rasho Nesterovic going for a rebound.

An MRI taken on the elbow Thursday revealed a "partial tear" of the ligament, according to team officials. They said he will be evaluated on a daily basis.

"I think I can play in a couple of days," Yao said.

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